Is one kind of security system better than another? Experts say yes

SEATTLE - There’s no such thing as a safe neighborhood anymore. Break-ins and thefts can happen anywhere.

That’s why more and more homeowners are investing in security systems, so they can keep an eye on their homes even when they’re not around.

When Cydna returned to her Mercer Island home after Thanksgiving and found out it had been burglarized, she was devastated.

“I certainly learned about an alarm system," she said. "We had one in the past, but we didn`t use it that day. Use your alarm system for sure."

But Jerold McGlothlin, a security expert who works with Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound, says that doesn’t always protect homeowners from theft.

“The problem is an alarm's nature only goes off after somebody's already in,” he says.

That’s why he advises people to invest in security systems that let them monitor who’s coming on their property. He says there are sensors that can be put at the perimeter of your home and cameras that can be connected to your smart phone.

So no matter where you are, you can see who’s at your front door.

“Nobody’s going to know better than you that person doesn’t belong out in front of your house.”

He says then if you see someone stealing a package from your porch or trying to break into your car, you can set off flashing lights or alarms to try to scare them off. McGlothlin says as technology has improved, devices that are controlled remotely have become more affordable.

“A person could start out with $50 to a couple hundred dollars to make a person uncomfortable before they get in.”

Police admit crimes of opportunity like package thefts and car prowls are on the rise throughout Western Washington.

They say surveillance video can help them solve those kinds of crimes if they are good quality and placed in the right spots. But McGlothlin says the best thing to do is find ways to avoid becoming a victim in the first place.

“Anyone who's been violated at any level knows. Once that takes place, you can't redo that. Unfortunately every time you come home after that, you feel that violation.”

Police say one of the other things you can do to make your home safer is get to know your neighbors. Then they can keep an eye on your home when you’re not around, and pick up your packages or mail so thieves can’t get it.